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Friday, August 1, 2008
Clutch non-BCS players through history


Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson

The following is a list of 10 of the non-BCS' top clutch performers. This list is in no way comprehensive. There are too many players who have made too many clutch plays to create a comprehensive list. But these players were responsible for some of the most clutch performances in college football.

Joe Montana, QB, Notre Dame -- Notre Dame's comeback kid produced six major come-from-behind victories, including the infamous Chicken Soup Game where he slurped chicken broth during an ice Cotton Bowl to stave off hypothermia and the flu.

Roger Staubach, QB, Navy -- Was dubbed "Captain Comeback" in the pros with the Dallas Cowboys, but the legend started at Navy in 1962 when Staubach led Navy to two wins over Army and won the Heisman in 1963.

Jared Zabransky, QB, Boise State -- Led the Broncos to a perfect 13-0 season in 2006, including throwing for 262 yards and three touchdowns in an overtime win against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.

George Gipp, TB/QB, Notre Dame -- One of the Irish's best athletes to ever play. Battling injury and illness, Gipp scores the game-winning touchdown to stave off an Indiana upset bid in 1920.

Jeff Ballard, QB, TCU -- Led TCU to an 18-point comeback to beat BYU 51-50 for the Mountain West championship in 2005. Ballard had thrown just one pass in his career prior to the game but went 8 of 12 for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Ballard was 19-2 as a starter.

LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, TCU -- Tomlinson put TCU back on the map helping it end a 41-year bowl drought in 1998. If a play needed to be made, Tomlinson was the one to get the ball.

Robbie Bosco, QB, BYU -- Led the Cougars to a 24-17 fourth-quarter comeback victory over Michigan in the Holiday Bowl to give BYU its first national championship in 1984.

Ian Johnson, RB, Boise State -- The other half of the dynamic duo that led Boise State to a win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl in 2006. He rushed for 101 yards, a touchdown and scored the game-winning two-point conversion.

Jim McMahon, QB, BYU -- Led BYU back from a 20-point deficit with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter against SMU in the Holiday Bowl. The game would later be called the "Miracle Bowl."

Davey O'Brien, QB, TCU -- One of the most decorated athletes in TCU history. In 1939, he threw a touchdown pass and kicked a field goal to beat Carnegie Tech 15-7 in the Sugar Bowl and earn TCU a national championship.